October 01, 2021

How to Learn and Use Fusion 360 for FREE!


by Nick Douglas

Are you interested in discovering how to learn and use Fusion 360 for FREE? This CAD design software can help you create unique 3D models. It would be an understatement to declare that free 3-D rendering programs are hard to come by. I’m aware of Blendr and Sketch-up but when it comes to CAD software, it doesn’t hit the same notes.

A couple of months ago, a colleague of mine put me on to this CAD software called “Fusion 360.” This program is a user-friendly version of “Inventor,” which was the program I was familiar with from engineering classes in high school.  The insider secret my coworker clued me into:  if I state that I want to the use the program as a hobbyist then it’s a free download. This, of course, means that you cannot monetize any of your designs.

How to Learn and Use Fusion 360 for FREE

So, the real question is where do you begin with a powerful CAD software. The answer is YouTube! There are plenty of comprehensive guides, as well as sample projects to get your gears spinning. The simplest one I’ve found is the “Learn Fusion 360 or Die Trying” series by Paul McWhorter.

This 13-part series is loaded with valuable information to navigate and manipulate Fusion 360 like it was your own pair of hands. I like how he deep dives into the concepts behind each tool in the program rather than just explaining what the tool is used for.

Another excellent series of videos come from Kevin Kennedy’s “Product Design Online.” He has created  a series of related video topics that walkthrough the basics of Fusion 360. He takes viewers all the way through the process of creating CAD drawings and even parts list for building plans.

The best feature that I’ve learned thus far is turning any object into a legible 2D Drawing. Why? Because the process is simple and good for a lot of different projects. I can translate my version to engineers, who can help me adapt my designs into public spaces.

What to Watch out for with FREE Fusion 360

There are some drawbacks to using a free software. One of them being, that you can only have 10 editable files total. The second being some minor features are locked behind a paywall. What a shock! However, there are a million work arounds. Stick with it and you’ll discover how to  functions done without having to pay for the software.

What to do with your CAD Designs

Once you’ve created some CAD designs in Fusion 360, you might want to try to print them out. Get certified on Ignite’s 3D printers, and see your digital project become part of the physical world. Don’t be shy about sharing your projects with us on the Ignite Community Discussion Board. Happy making!